Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

Peggy and I recently spent a weekend in Manhattan to see two Broadway shows. Pushing 80, I find NYC traffic and crowds overpowering. However, the Internet and computers can make all the difference in terms of getting around and paying.

Where did the .95 come from (as in pricing a $9.95 item)? Most people will say it sounds a lot cheaper than $10. Not so. In the days before cash registers, if a shirt was priced at $1.00, a dishonest store clerk could hand it to the customer, take the customer's $1.00 bill and pocket it. So retailers hired cashiers and priced shirts at 95¢. Sales clerks were forced to hand over the customer's $1 bill to the cashier and get back a nickel for the customer.

David Letterman's retirement announcement set off a minor media flurry. From "David Letterman Revolutionized Late Night," by Philip Maciak. David Letterman did not revolutionize anything. In the early 1950s, the king of late-night was a zany second banana with a Bugs Bunny face, Jerry Lester. His show: "Broadway Open House." A regular guest was Dagmar.

World War II has been called the "last good war." Unlike the wars of today, the entire country was involved. It dominated my childhood. Men went off to fight and women took jobs in defense plants turning out planes, Jeeps, tanks and uniforms. My family was involved in selling war bonds and working with the USO to bring Broadway show people to entertain troops at local military bases.

In 1980, I sat in the first row of a deliciously tacky Broadway vaudeville show—Sugar Babies—starring Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller. At one point, Rooney and the cast set up a very old joke from burlesque days. I saw it coming, and when the diminutive comic delivered the punch line with exquisite timing, I exploded with a huge guffaw, whereupon the rest of the audience followed suit.

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